Microsoft is developing free anti-virus software to compete with subscription services from Symantec and McAfee, Reuters reports. The program, codenamed Morro, will be released in beta “soon” and will likely have similar features to other companies’ entry-level products that cost about $40 a year. Microsoft made an attempt to enter the subscription market in 2006 with the poorly received Live OneCare, which the company is scrapping.
An industry analyst sees the product as a "long-term competitive threat" to Symantec and McAfee, but those companies are, not surprisingly, downplaying the threat. “Microsoft's free product is basically a stripped down version of the OneCare product Microsoft pulled from the shelves,” a Symantec exec said. A McAfee spokesman said the company was already doing well against currently available free software.